Despite the many requisite years of formal education and experience to legitimately be called an expert, “Bed Bug Experts” are popping up everywhere throughout the U.S. These new “expert” bed bug detection and bed bug extermination companies, as well as established pest control firms are in a mad race to get a slice of the bed bug money pie as quick as they can. Its understandable when you consider New York City alone spends between $10 million and $40 million per year on bed bug control.
Before accepting a pitch from a self-proclaimed “bed bug expert” who is offering treatment warranties longer than their business has been in operation, you should always:
1. Look for a licensed pest control company whose primary focus is bed bugs. Many pest control companies are primarily ant, roach and spider firms who occasionally deal with bed bugs because they feel a sense of obligation to their current clients and are either embarrassed or afraid of bringing in another company to deal with the extremely complex problem of bed bug eradication.
2. Ask your bed bug professional what tools they have to combat the problem, heat is a great tool, maybe even one of the best, however if it is the only tool available or offered… failure is inevitable!
3. Ask if the company subcontracts its bed bug services to other pest control companies. If the company’s primary focus is truly bed bugs they will be well known for that expertise, respected, and used by other pest control professionals across the state.
4. Beware of the bed bug warranty! Having a warranty attached to a service contract generally makes people feel good but as with most things, if it sounds too good to be true… It generally is! READ THE FINE PRINT and make sure that if a “separate” or “independent” K9 company is searching your home on the treatment company’s behalf, the treatment company can’t claim that your home was in fact free from bed bugs at the time of inspection and the treatment company is now off the hook in terms of re-treatment or related warranty provisions if nothing was found at the time of inspection. No K9 team is 100% accurate and in no way should the findings of a K9 inspection determine the provisions of a warranty. The warranty should be reasonable and will in most cases include some level of participation on your part. The primary goal of a bed bug warranty is to ensure that if bed bugs are not fully eradicated or that if they are somehow reintroduced in the structure, you the customer are covered in terms of re-treatment.
5. When choosing a bed bug K-9 detection team ask if the handler has prior professional experience with working dogs, and in what capacity, other than with bed bug detection. Ask how long the handler’s course with the current bed bug detection dog was. In many cases it will have been 3 to 5 days; this is barely enough time to create a working bond, much less create a finely tuned working detection team. Ask about the reward system and weather the dog is rewarded upon alert or upon verification. Ask to what extent a visual inspection is performed by the handler prior or post K-9 inspection, remember they call it a K-9 team and visual inspections should always be performed as well as the use of the K-9.
Dog training and handling is a profession that takes many years of dedication and hands on education to master. Most who try will never achieve the level of competence required to maintain a highly competent bed bug detection dog. It is the nature of working with a live animal, and not a mechanical device that can make it so difficult. In my opinion the amount of years practiced is never as important as the amount of success related to ones efforts.
6. Understand the reality of “Third Party” K-9 inspections. Unfortunately, many treatment and bed bug detection companies in the state are claiming that “In House” K9 detections are a scam or “The Fox Guarding the Hen House,” and to only use “Third Party” canine services. How is a company hiring another company to check its work actually “Third Party?” Its not! It would actually be a “Third Party” inspection if you (the customer) hired an independent bed bug detection company to check the work of the treatment company. If it is truly to be a “Third Party” inspection it will take effort on you, the customers part to research and find a K-9 detection company who is not affiliated or regularly employed or contracted by the company who has done the bed bug remediation work. The simple truth is; the only reason you see companies offering “Third Party” canines is because they lack the expertise and capitol to manage a fully functioning and highly reliable bed bug detection kennel and training facility. If you have found an honest company who has dedicated itself to providing the best service possible to its clients and spent the capital investment in having the best tools available to combat the bed bug resurgence it will undoubtedly have its own K-9 detection division as one of its primary tools. This company should not only offer its K-9 detection services post treatment, but be willing to have the client hire their own THIRD PARTY company for post treatment inspections leaving the power to choose in the clients hands!
AZEX Pest Solutions is based in the Phoenix Metro area and Prescott AZ and has specialized in bug eradication and detection since 2007. In terms of detection and treatment, no other company in the state can match our level of experience and expertise. In fact many of the treatment and inspection companies in Arizona learned what they know by either working for, or watching us especially when you consider AZEX was the first bed bug heat treatment company in the state. We didn’t jump on the bandwagon… We are the bandwagon!